Thursday, 7 May 2015

Richard III - Sanctuary for a King

A few days ago I was invited by the lovely people at Cank Street Gallery to the private view of Michael Harrison's exhibition, 'Sanctuary for a King'. Michael has been the artist in residence at Leicester Cathedral and recorder of events surrounding the re-interment of Richard III.

Richard (1452-1485), whose reign lasted merely a few months, from 26 June 1483 until his death at the Battle of Bosworth, was originally buried at Greyfriars, Leicester, where his remains were transported by horse from Bosworth Field following the final battle of the Wars of the Roses.

Richard was the last of the Plantagenets, the last of three kings of the House of York and his defeat at Bosworth marked the end of the English 'Middle Ages'.

From modern-day evidence, Richard III is now believed to have been blonde.
After the death of his brother, King Edward IV, Richard became Lord Protector of Edward's son and successor. The child and a young cousin were not seen after August 1483, which gave rise to the story of the Princes in the Tower, ostensibly killed on Richard's orders. 

For many years Richard III was remembered for this alleged act and also for his portrayal of daring-do at Bosworth, thanks to the lines William Shakespeare placed into his mouth, c 1592, via his play, Richard III; "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!"

Some five hundred years after his death the remains of Richard III were found under a Leicester car parkIn 2012/2013 an archaeological dig by Leicester University revealed the location of the church of the Friars Minor or Franciscans, together with Richard's remains. The grave site has now been enveloped into the 'Richard III - Dynasty, Death & Discovery Museum' which opened in 2014.

With much pomp and in the presence of members of today's Royal family, in March this year Richard's remains were re-interred at Leicester Cathedral, events successfully captured in oils by Michael Harrison.

Michael Harrison's collection, Sanctuary for a King, based on the re-interment of Richard III,  
in exhibition at Cank Street Gallery, Leicester, until further notice.
An agreeably accessible artist, Michael discussed his collection of paintings, 'Sanctuary for a King', at the private view. He explained his compositional techniques, including some ideas from the Renaissance period, and his belief that the viewer interprets artwork more effectively when the artist has actually experienced what is being portrayed.

The vibrant exhibition, 'Sanctuary for a King' is on display at Cank Street Gallery until further notice. More about Michael Harrison can be found on the Cank Street Gallery website and on Michael's blog

I was impressed and encourage you to go along and experience Michael's powerful historical interpretations for yourself.

Michael Harrison (centre) with admirers, Crank Street Gallery private view, 5 May.
Michael Harrison meets Lizzy Hewitt at the Cank Street Gallery private view.